Thursday, December 16, 2010

Australia show fight after Tremlett strikes

Chris Tremlett's impressive return to Test cricket helped give England the advantage on the opening day at the WACA as Australia reached tea on 6 for 179. That, though, represented a fightback from the hosts after they'd slumped to 4 for 36 after being put into bat. Tremlett claimed two in his first spell and was well backed up by James Anderson, but it was Graeme Swann who claimed the vital afternoon breakthrough to end Mike Hussey's counterattacking 61.
Although not quite matching the drama of Adelaide, it didn't take England long to make early inroads as Tremlett struck in his first over to win the battle of the recalled players against Phillip Hughes. Ricky Ponting fell to a stunning catch at third slip and Michael Clarke failed again in the first innings to give Tremlett his second scalp.
When Steve Smith edged Tremlett to first slip shortly after lunch Australia had lost half their side for 69 and could have crumbled. However, the recovery came from a familiar partnership as Hussey and Brad Haddin - a pair that have given England more problems than the rest of the batting order put together - added 68, taking a particular liking to Steve Finn who limped out of the attack with a calf problem, before Swann got one to bounce and take Hussey's edge.
Andrew Strauss made a brave decision to bowl first, because Perth pitches have a history of lulling captains into believing they'll be livelier than it proves, but Ponting said he'd have done the same having picked four frontline quicks. On this occasion, though, Strauss was fully vindicated as his pace attack was once again outstanding with the new ball and exposed further frailties in the Australia top order.
If it wasn't for the UDRS, England would have struck in the first over but Watson was reprieved when replays showed the ball had struck thigh pad and not glove on the way down the leg side. However, the visitors didn't have to wait long as Tremlett immediately made an impression and showed why he was the correct selection ahead of Tim Bresnan. After a couple of short balls to Hughes he pitched one fuller which the left-hander tried to play to leg and was bowled.
Tremlett almost added Ponting without scoring when extra bounce found the edge but it flew between third slip and gully, before Ponting responded with a pull through midwicket. The Australia captain clearly wanted to be positive, but after another boundary through the leg side fell to a stunning one-handed catch by Paul Collingwood at third slip. Forcing outside off, the ball flew high and fast to Collingwood, who dropped a few earlier in the tour, and Ponting had to drag himself off for another low score.
Pressure is growing on Clarke to prove he is part of Australia's future and faced with Tremlett's bounce could only offer a horribly weak poke which gave Matt Prior his 100th catch in Test cricket. It might not have been 3 for 2, but 3 for 28 wasn't very good either. Like at Adelaide, Watson was left with Hussey to try to rebuild the innings but Watson was pinned in front by Finn's well-directed yorker and this time UDRS couldn't save him.
Smith supported Hussey until the lunch interval before being superbly worked over by Tremlett and England sensed a quick kill. However, after a period of weathering the storm they started to open their shoulders and Haddin used his feet in Swann's first over to drive a four and a six. Hussey took three boundaries off Finn's next over, the first taking him to his fourth his fifty of a prolific series from 98 balls, and it needed a superb delivery from Swann to end his stay. Initially the umpire didn't give the decision, but Prior was so convinced he signalled for the review while celebrating and Hotspot proved him spot on. 

Reference : cricinfo

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